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Why did New Zealand have such a high proportion of casualties, was it because the BEF was the logistical supplier therefore allowing more NZers to be front line combat soldiers?


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Hello Khaki

There is something in that argument, but the Australians also had very few troops outside their divisions so you would expect to see similar casualty rates there, whereas the Canadians also provided a significant proportion of railway and forestry troops.

I think the more likely reason is that the Canadians always insisted in being kept together as a Corps, and the Australians normally did too. This resulted in their being kept in reserve more than the majority of British divisions and only used as a strike force for major set-piece battles, such as at Vimy Ridge in 1917 and at Amiens in 1918. The New Zealanders, on the other hand, tended to be moved about more, to fight in predominantly British Corps, and therefore suffered more attrition. They were a particularly good division and, like some good British divisions such as 12th and 18th, tended to be called upon to retrieve difficult situations and consequently incurred a higher proportion of casualties.


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